Welcome to Monday Motivators, the Academy Awards edition. There were so many moments last night, from all the glitz, all the glam and all of Jimmy Kimmel’s one liners to truly incredible ones like Katherine Johnson (the inspiration behind Hidden Figures) taking the stage at the age of 99. Add on that crazy ending (congrats to everyone connected with Moonlight AND La La Land for handling an f’d up situation with a ton of grace) and how do you choose just one to celebrate?
You really can’t, but yet, there is one woman, one acceptance speech, and one incredible presence, that epitomizes all that She’s Fit To Lead is about. To paraphrase Jimmy Kimmel, if there were an Emmy Award for best acceptance speech, that award would be going to Viola Davis, hands down, no doubt. Here’s the speech we know we’ll never forget:
In case you missed any of that:
Thank you to the Academy. You know, there’s one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place and that’s the graveyard. People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost. I became an artist — and thank God I did — because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.
So, here’s to August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people. And to Bron Pictures, Paramount, Macro, Todd Black, Molly Allen for being the cheerleaders for a movie that is about people. And words. And life and forgiveness and grace. And to Michael T. Williamson, Stephen McKinley Henderson, for being the most wonderful artists I’ve ever worked with.
And oh captain, my captain, Denzel Washington.
Thank you for putting two entities in the driving seat: August and God. And they served you well. And to Dan and Mary Alice Davis, who were and are the center of my universe, the people who taught me good or bad, how to fail, how to love, how to hold an award, how to lose. My parents ― I’m so thankful that God chose you to bring me into this world. To my sisters, my sister Dolores, we were rich white women in the tea party games. Thank you for the imagination. And to my husband and my daughter. My heart, you and Genesis. You teach me every day how to live, how to love, I’m so glad that you are the foundation of my life. Thank you to the Academy. Thank you.
So, as you start your week, here’s a thought to keep with you. One thing of which you can rest assured, all your potential dies with you. Depressing? Only if you let fear or lack of confidence keep you from living your dreams. Only if you live in the land of “could have,” “should have,” and “would have.” Our simple advice, don’t be that person.
Grab every opportunity. Take some risks. Pursue your passions. Make the most of all that comes your way. The only one who can realize your potential is you!
A new month is coming, and it’s one in which we celebrate women’s history. What better time to seize the moment. Let Viola Davis inspire you. Choose one thing that’s meaningful to you that you’ve been shying away from and take the plunge. You won’t be sorry, we promise.
Congratulations to Viola Davis on your win and on being the first black performer to win an Oscar, a Tony and an Emmy Award. Thank you for inspiring us always.
Congratulations to all of last night’s nominees and winners.